Think with your heart
Whether you like Chicago blues or '80s pop music -- Luther Allison or Debbie Gibson -- there's a song called "Think with Your Heart" to enjoy. Unfortunately, that advice doesn't always end well, at least in romantic song lyrics. Nonetheless, research shows you really do think with your heart.
Brain health depends on unobstructed blood flow carrying oxygen, glucose (what brain cells gobble for food) and nutrients. That's why plaque in your blood vessels, hypertension, high triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels, and elevated hsCRP (an inflammation marker), which affect your heart health, also damage your brain.
Mild cognitive impairment that causes memory lapse, interrupted thought and inattention, is related to those sorts of circulatory problems. The American Academy of Neurology estimates around 8% of folks ages 65-69 and 37% of people age 85+ have MCI; 10-20% of cases progress to full-blown dementia. Fortunately, you can improve your circulatory health and protect your brain.
You know the drill about eating a heart-healthy Mediterranean diet; eliminating processed carbs and red meats. But did you know you can improve circulatory and brain health with these steps?
1. Sleep -- not too little (less than seven hours) and not too much (more than eight).
2. Exercise -- for mental and social stimulation, improved blood flow to the brain and it may also stimulate release of molecules that repair brain cells and create connections between them.
3. Learn new things. Take a language course, take up knitting.
4. Do 'em all. Research shows the more the merrier -- and cognitively alert -- you'll be.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer Emeritus at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit www.sharecare.com.
(c)2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.(c) 2020 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.